The Last Mimzy

Monday, July 30, 2007

2 GOOMBAS

Still part kid, I love watching family-oriented, kid flicks. . . (did my mini, short-lived obsession with my horse movie not give it away?). I anticipated the DVD release Sky High, which I purchased, and Thunderbirds, which I hated, with a passion. Don't even get me started on High School Musical 2. I am such a dork . . . I may have just obliterated any respect you had for my movie opinions. Gotta be my self though, right? So like usual, I requested The Last Mimzy from my trusty, until recently, Netflix, and watched it the first day it arrived. I always watch the lighter movies first.

Kind of a cool general idea, The Last Mimzy is a tale of a brother and sister totally consumed by modern technological culture who find Mimzy stuff on a beach. What they don't know is that the Mimzy stuff came from the future, and that these things hold "magical" powers. Soon after their finding, the children find that they have gained "supernatural" powers, and realize that they must send Mimzy, a living toy rabbit, back to the future.

The more I sat thinking on this movie, the more I disliked it. Even writing about it is making me like it less. This movie has a new age kind of feel to it, and the movie's portrayal of present day kinders a connection between the natural and technological advancement. It was different than other family films I've seen. I saw a similarity between Mimzy and ET, where only the children understand the mission, but it wasn't wholesome or warm. Also, the kids never even understood why they needed to send Mimzy back. They could have very well sent it back without saving humanity first. Luckily they did without even knowing it. This movie was unfocused and just plain weird. There were characters that looked like they were suppose make a meaningful dent in the plot and ended up looking like awe struck extras in the end.

Kids might be able to look past some of the issues I see, but this movie wasn't rich or inspiring. It was tepid and distant, probably in part, due to it's new age, techy, cool feel it was going for. I also think kids might be attracted to how modern the movie is. Modern day Generation Y kids under "magical" circumstances, and a brother and sister duo to boot. It's sure to welcome some attention, but other than that, there are so many better family films out there, that I'd skip whimsy Mimzy.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:22 PM 1 comments  

Miss Potter

Thursday, July 26, 2007

3 GOOMBAS


Even though Miss Potter has been #1 in my queue since it was first release on DVD (June), I still haven't received it and finally had to resort to Hollywood video (since I try not to give my money to Blockbuster). I'm annoyed. I'm being throttled. . . I may cancel my membership ::gasp:: I know, right? But I can get all the older movies from the library . . . such a money saver. Anyway, on to the review . . .

Miss Potter is based on the life story of Beatrix Potter, the author of the classic children's story books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit. A period piece, the focal point of this story revolves around Miss Potter's first love and her new-found literary success.

A real heartfelt film, Miss Potter is simple and genuine. Renee Zellweger's performance of Beatrix was right up her Bridget Jone's alley. Beatrix lacked confidence yet was righteous; soft yet unsinkable. You can't help but admire the clueless Miss Potter when the banker told her she had earned enough money from her "silly children's books" to buy not just one estate, but multiple. In your face Beatrix's mom! My only critique is the talking animal pictures . . . that seemed largely out of place. It also made Miss Potter seem like an immature head case who'd been confined to a closet for majority of her life. I felt it very unnecessary.

There was nothing magnificent about this film, but it had that extra something that makes it slightly admirable. A great watch on one of those lazy summer afternoons when you just want to be swept away for a few hours.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 2:11 PM 0 comments  

Zodiac

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2 GOOMBAS


Serial killers are usually the creepiest of all the creepies. They have no motives, are mentally deranged, and can attack anyone they like at random. Some unfortunates are even mutilated or tortured. ::shudders:: Lucky for us, serial killers are pretty rare, but that doesn't stop me from keeping all my windows and doors shut, locked in and tight.

Centered around the true life murders of the Zodiac Killer in the late 1960's, Zodiac stars Jack Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, and Robert Downey Jr. Following his murders which take place in different counties up and down the state of California, Zodiac notifies the police about his victims. He's also nice enough to send along letters and blood swatches of his slayings to the badges and the local press.

The film starts out strong with spine-tingling murder scenes and a great portrayal of police and media frenzy, and after some light research, I found each of the facts presented in the movie to be legitimate. To me, that's pretty impressive . . . and yes, this movie was made in Hollywood. Impressed yet? Well, don't get your hopes up too much because somewhere between the 1 hour 20 and 1 hour and 40 minute mark it started to really drag. After that point, Zodiac has stopped murdering people, sadly, taking most of the entertainment value with him, and it becomes an strenuous exercises of following the facts. It wasn't until after the 1 hour and 30 mark that I started to understand why the heck Jack Gyllenhaal was even in the picture. Stated in the film's tag line, "There's more than one way to lose your life to a serial killer," Gyllenhaal's character becomes obsessed with solving the crime even though the case has gone cold for years and despite the fact that he is not anything more than a cartoonist turned amateur detective.

This film stimulated great insight on the notions of obsession. It illustrates the state of initial interest and its gradual (<---a little too gradual) reach to absorbed addiction. What's disconcerting is that Graysmith (Gyllenhaal) was aware of his derogating life, and yet he still needed to know. This is not Titanic! Just let go Graysmith! Let Go!

This movie was too much fact for its own good. The first half consisted of a portrayal of real life events and the last half was all Hollywood. It was too long and un-entertainingly slow, and for a highly impatient person like me, this is a no no. Anyway, I don't recommend the movie, but remember, always lock your doors and windows at night! They're bad people out there . . .

Sidenote: For those of you without plasma TVs like me, here's what those end credits (words at the end of the movie) say:

-Following Mike Mageau's identification of Arthur Leigh Allen, authorities scheduled a meeting to discuss charging him with the murders. Allen suffered a fatal heart attack before this meeting could take place.

-In 2002, a partial DNA profile, that did not match Allen, was developed from a 33 year-old Zodiac envelope. Investigators in San Francisco and Vallejo refused to rule out Allen as a suspect on the basis of this test.

-In 2004, the San Francisco Police Department deactivated their Zodiac investigation.

-Today, the case remains open in Napa County, Solano County, and in the city of Vallejo, where Arthur Leigh Allen is still the prime and only suspect.

-Inspector David Toschi retired from the San Francisco Police Department in 1989. He was cleared of all charges that he wrote the 1978 Zodiac letter.

-Paul Avery passed away on December 10, 2000 of pulmonary emphysema. He was 66. His Ashes were scattered by his family in the San Francisco Bay.

-Robert Graysmith lives in San Francisco and enjoys a healthy relationship with his children. He claims he has not received a single anonymous call since Allen's death.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 11:05 AM 2 comments  

Smokin' Aces

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2 GOOMBAS

The people who made the trailer for this film got the tone of this movie VERY wrong. Either that, or they lied to us by depicting this movie with a Tarantino-esque quality; lots and lots of guns but with a kind of tongue and cheek humour to it. Even the title art looks more fun than it should be. I feel lied to . . . I feel used . .

Smokin' Aces doesn't even come close to how this film was promoted. It was serious and kind of like an upgraded action B movie. Buddy 'Aces' Israel, played by Jeremy Priven, is about to fink out his mobster associates to the cops, but before he goes into protective custody, he wants to have one last hurrah in Reno. During Aces' holiday, the mob boss puts out a $1 million reward on Aces' head, and every hit man and their mother is out to get him. Meanwhile, an FBI agent tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the mob and the greasy squealer he's protecting. A pretty recognizable cast, Smokin' Aces includes Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys, Matthew Fox, and Ryan Reynolds.

I fell asleep during the movie. I know, right? How am I suppose to review a movie I didn't even see 100% of? Let me just tell you this. Even though I fell asleep for about half the movie, I didn't miss much. It was sort of like a soap opera . . . you watch it for a good solid time period, walk away from it for two years, come back and you still know exactly what's going on. This movie focused too much on the shoot 'em up scenes and disregarded the attempted plot twist. It was almost anti-climatic. Why have a plot twist if it's just going to be a movie about guns? It did have some really well framed shots and creative camera angles (I especially like the picture I chose for this blog). But I still didn't like it, and I didn't really like the trailer much either. Don't see it, they lied to you.

Sidenote: I was half expecting to see Priven's buddy, John Cusack, in this movie, considering that Priven is known to grace Cusack's films with minor roles.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:25 AM 1 comments  

The Guardian

Monday, July 16, 2007

2 GOOMBAS

Ashton Kutcher is kind of like this weird character actor. You know how Jim Carey always has to do that weird Jim Carey thing, even if the film is serious? It's kind of like that. "I'm Ashton Kutcher!!! I'm awesome!!!" with his sort of Ashton Kutcher flail and the wide eyed, eye brow raised, crazed look on his face. So it's obviously kind of hard to take him seriously.

In The Guardian, you really want to try and get into it. Jake Fischer, played by Kutcher, AKA Goldfish, is a young and cocky swimmer who wants to join the National Coast Guard. Ben Randall, played by the aging Kevin Costner, is an old, almost retired Guard Swimmer, whose career has glorified him to legend. The humble and haunted Randall becomes the Coast Guard Boot Camp trainer, and forms a love-hate relationship with Fischer, eventually leading to mutual respect.

If you think the plot sounds pretty dull and has already been done under the guise of a different backdrop then you're right. I did enjoy learning a little bit more about the Coast Guard. I had no idea that it took similar army-like training. However, other than that, both Costner and Fischer gave mediocre performances. There wasn't a lot of, out-in-the-open-sea-save-me-scenes as the trailers wrongfully advertised, and I thought that some of the subplots were pretty corny.

Don't be fooled by the CG, distracted by your fear of drowning in a sinking ship(<---my worst nightmare) or Ashton Kutcher's mannerisms, or blinded by your amazement at the physical hardship the Coast Guard Swimmers have to endure. It's just a movie that had a huge budget and made some money, but that doesn't make it good.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:13 PM 0 comments  

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

4 GOOMBAS
I love Harry Potter!!! The dorky part of me wishes that I was also a Gryffindor (even though we all know that I'd be a Hufflepuff) with a wand, and a really awesome cloak. Who wouldn't want that, especially the cloak part? The final book, as you hopefully know, is due to come out on Saturday, July 21st; 7 days, 11 hours, 50 minutes from now. No, I'm not the even the slightest bit fanatical. And no, I'm not bouncing up and down in my chair with arms in the air flailing in hysteric excitement. You know this because I'm typing, and to do so requires my hands to be firmly planted on the keyboard . . . GAH! I'm dying over here! I'm about to have a melt down trying to hold it in! GAH AHHH! YAAAY! AHHH! So instead of the physical flailing, you get a written manifestation of it. Lucky you. I have to keep telling myself not to think about it or I'll start doing this silent cheer thing every two seconds, placing me most definitely in the scary geek category.

In, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, or OP, the following events occur: a hideous woman from the Ministry named Umbridge takes over Hogwarts, Harry and Cho make out, Harry teaches his classmates Defense Against the Dark Arts in secret, and there is a prophesy.

I don't really know what to say about the movie. I'm so blinded by the books that I can't even tell if the film is coherent to people who haven't read them. I loved the movie, but I don't know if I love it because I love Harry or because I loved the film. There are uplifting parts, sentimental parts, and funny parts. I thought it was good fix on the part of the film makers to montage the story of the different proclaimations Umbridge instituted with the DA scenes. Not only does it speed up the story, but tells it in an artistic fasion. The special effects are awesome, Harry becomes someone everyone else could look up to, and to top that off, Dumbledore is a bad-ass.

The few complaints I have are the obvious ones; they left out a lot of cool information that the books had. I also didn't like how they dealt with Cho's character, but that's because it was totally different from the book. I just felt like there was no resolution to Harry and Cho's relationship. Are they still together, are they not? I also wished there was a little more fight scene at the end of the film, but if they need to pay Daniel Radcliffe 25 million, it's understandable if they were running low on the budget for CG. I'm facetious, I know.

Anyway, I love Harry Potter. Even if he's suppose to be a miserable, misunderstood jerk in this film. I'm a fan, 100% of the way. I'm bias, so hopefully you take this review with a grain of salt.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:40 AM 0 comments  

Ratatouille

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

4 GOOMBAS

I went to the movie theater with very high expectations for Pixar's latest animated edition. In my mind, it was already a 5 GOOMBA film, considering Pixar's reputation and all the reviews I'd already read. But obviously from the rating I gave it above, I wasn't astounded by the lovable rat. However, it was a good movie, and better than some in Pixar's collection of gems.

Ratatouille is a computer animated motion picture staring Remy, an average, everyday rat with an extraordinary sense of smell. Unlike his counterparts, he palette for taste is highly peculiar since he is, after all, a forager. Beggars can't be choosers, and this picky rat can't eat anything better than superb. For a while, it looked like Remy would never be the chef that he wanted to be, until he met Linguini, a clumsy kitchen boy who couldn't cook if his life depended on it. Well, it turns out for Linguini that his life did depend on it, and Remy, AKA "Little Chef" helps him.

At the beginning of the movie, I had a serious flashback moment to An American Tail. Luckily the direction Ratatouille took was very different (not that I didn't like An American Tail, I loved it. I just didn't want to watch a regulation). Speaking of flashbacks, favorite part was the Anton Ego's flashback moment. That was priceless. However, not nearly as funny as other Pix-flicks, the story still comes first, giving it a permanent place in the classic vault. Classy and simple, this tale is a refreshing change from the blockbuster, in-your-face, flashy, action-packed, bigger-than-life films of this summer.

Also worth mentioning was the amazing CG. I couldn't get over the bread! The bread looked like real french bread! I wanted to pluck it out of the screen and eat it . . . it looked way better than any french bread I'd seen. Not to mention all the other glorious food generated by man's new best friend, the computer. I love food!

Anyway, go see this movie! And eat before you watch it so you don't get hungry!

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 1:19 AM 0 comments  

Hollywoodland

Friday, July 06, 2007

2 GOOMBAS

My entire perception of the Golden Age of Hollywood was shaped by I Love Lucy. Sometimes, I'm even surprised that some of the tidbits I learned from the show isn't common knowledge; like Heda Hopper and her crazy hats or what a Don Lopper Original meant to the average 1950's woman. So when I heard that they were making a movie about the original television show Superman, I immediately thought of the bouncy and friendly Superman who saved Lucy from her apartment building's ledge. This was the Superman that every kid for the 1950's knew and loved, and because of this episode, I knew him too, so I was surprised to find out that Superman wasn't who I thought he was.

Hollywoodland tells the story of a struggling actor, George Reeves, who found his break by playing every child's idol, Superman. However, his suspicious and abrupt death tainted the legendary superhero's reputation. This is where the story begins. Louis Simo is the private detective investigating George Reeves' death, which from the police's perspective was disregarded as a suicide. Through his investigation, Simo not only learns about the unhappy and strange lifestyle of the all-American symbol of heroism, but makes his own revelation about the life he leads.

To put it bluntly, I didn't like this movie. Watching it, you can tell that there was a lot of thought and effort that was put into it. All aspects of the actual production of the film was quality stuff; the cinematography, the lighting, period perspective, the mis en scene. It's obviously not your Saturday night, Lifetime, made-for-TV movie. It looks like an A-class film, but just like our teachers in grade school told us, appearance isn't everything.

The story wasn't all that interesting and the characters weren't engaging. I find myself stretching to explain how Simo found any connection between his life and Reeves'. Both struggle in their own way, but really, they had nothing in common. Reeves' is a child television star by day, man whore by night. Simo is a divorced, shady private investigator with a kid who doesn't respect him. Maybe one argue that while Reeves' balked and shied away from this respect that was given to him unquestionably, Simo longed for it. Sounds good, huh? Remember I'm stretching (the best BS comes from it).

I'd skip this movie and opt for other, better films like Chinatown or LA Confidential.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:27 PM 0 comments  

Transformers

Thursday, July 05, 2007

4 GOOMBAS

Here, my friends, is the epitome of the Hollywood Blockbuster. Big, flashy, entertaining, and charming, this movie made me remember what it was like to see through the eyes of my 6-year-old self again. How the heck did they make a mere car turn into a friggin' robot right before my eyes?!? Magic of course! And what about the back story behind the Decepticons and Autobots, cheesy? I didn't notice! It was too awesome to notice!!! Nah, I'm not excited about the movie at all . . .


Based on the popular 1980's toy, Transformers, and, I'm sure, on the the comic book and t.v. series that followed, the Autobots and their villainous rivals, the Decepticons, are brought to Earth to seek the Allspark, a cube that creates life from inanimate objects. Transformers introduces Sam Witwicky, a teenager ready for his first car. As it turns out, Sam's great grandfather played a significant role in this race for the Allspark, so it's up to him to become the Transformer's human ally. He just doesn't know it yet.

As every "toy movie" should be, this movie was so great at evoking the innocence and fun that movies of today lack. Shia LaBeouf's comedic timing was terrific, the CG was remarkable (Bumblebee's eyes, Man. Even with the bot mute, I can see his thoughts), and who can't love a movie where the good guy is goodness and decency incarnate (the regal Optimus Prime) and the bad guy is just pure evil. This movie may have some hokey points of plot, but at the same time, its portrayed in a "realistic" way. Of course ginormous robots would be clumsy and unable to keep their enormous feet from squishing through Mrs. Witwicky's garden. Of course it would be a naive, innocent kid who believes that these alien robots are friends. It sure as heck wouldn't be an adult!

What I did have issues with was the military soldiers and the sound wave analysts. I felt like the movie didn't need them. I don't know if this is because I'm a huge Shia Labeouf fan and I'm biased, but I felt like the other plot lines were almost too developed. Rather than using these characters to aid the existing plot, the writers attempted to add completely different story lines that just took away from the already established story.

Other than that, this flick was exhilarating, the tone was light, and did I mention that it was fun? You have to see this movie in the theaters. I won't be the same otherwise! For a bigger than life movie with bigger than life robots, that calls for a really big screen.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:28 AM 1 comments  

Live Free or Die Hard

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

3.5 GOOMBAS

Die Hard was one of the first films to pioneer a specific school of action. You know what kind of action I'm talking about; the kind of action where our hero didn't need to have super powers or a crazy sci-fi storyline. All he needs is a gun and his bare hands, but don't worry, he'll manage to get some machine guns and some makeshift explosives by the end of the movie. There's usually some hostage type situation, and a special girl he has to save. There is a bad guy and the good guy. No surprises. The school of action that rose in the 1980's but died during the Internet revolution. Action movies like these were more about the ride than anything else. But they don't make them like they use to. The audience has changed, and people expect more from an action thriller than just ridiculous explosions and crazy shootouts. Action movies now a days need much more. We're so technologically advanced now that movies of this caliber no longer have a place among the war films, Matrix movies, or comic book hero flicks. So when I heard they were making a new Die Hard, I was hoping that I would get to see some of that old school muscle action.

Live Free or Die Hard follows up on our old friend John McClane. He's now a senior detective for the NYPD, divorced, bald, and estranged from his children. Like the premises of the previous films, McClane always just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. As a favor for the FBI, he's asked to pick up a computer hacker who is somehow partially associated with some hi tech terrorists. As his adventure unfolds, these terrorists begin taking over the United States via "firestorm" attack. Things blow up, his daughter is kidnapped, all hell breaks loose, and there's only one man for the job; John McClane.

This entire movie is a symbol for how action movies have evolved. How ironic is it to put an old school action hero under present day circumstances? He's confused. He needs a nerdy computer geek to translate. And the "much more" that I was talking about earlier . . . it entails technological warfare against the most powerful nation in the world. Saving 50 hostages from 15 terrorits just isn't enough. Even McClane acknowledges how things have changed, and maybe all brawn can't stand up to modern day villains. Oh, but that doesn't stop him from battling a fighter plan with a semi and, my personal favorite, taking down a helicopter with a Crown Victoria.

Live Free Or Die Hard is a good piece of entertainment. It was packed full of ridiculous goodies and kept me rooting for the good guy, but in the end, it just wasn't the same as old school Die Hard. Even though our action hero from the past wins his battle and saves the country; sadly, his style, like the aging movies, just doesn't hack it against new cinema. But that doesn't stop me from liking it!

Update: I up-ed the rating by 0.5 GOOMBAS because after a little more thought, despite the impossiblities of some of the situations, it was pretty fun. Plus, my dad thinks that should be 4 GOOMBAS, and he is the aficionado on all things action.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:09 PM 0 comments  

Shooter

Monday, July 02, 2007

3 GOOMBAS

Okay, give Mark Wahlberg a gun and let him run around on camera any time . . . just without the mullet. Will Farrell and Jack Black put it right on the money when they jokingly threatened to beat up all the nominees except for Wahlberg during the 2007 Academy Awards, because "[he's] kind of bad-ass." Bad-ass is the right word for Mark Wahlberg, especially in this aggressive action flick.

Ex-U.S. Marine Corp. sniper, Bob Lee Swagger, is recruited for a special mission because of his excellent reputation and expertise at shooting people in the head. He must prevent the assassination the President of the United States.
************SPOILER WARNING*************
The plot thickens as he becomes the victim of a set up and then has to run from the FBI and those who framed him.
************SPOILER END************
Of course there's a bombshell, female semi-love interest, some attempt at character development, the nerdy, yet trusty sidekick, and lots and lots of bombs.

This movie doesn't really have much to it. It was kind of cool to listen to all the gun talk. Apparently there are lots of elements that go into shooting a person from over a mile away. Who knew? But the real reason to go see this movie is Mark Wahlberg, the shooting, and the many many explosions. Exaggerated masculinity is usually an issue for me, but Wahlberg is so natural about it; thereby making it okay for him to run around as macho man. Hey, it's like watching him in real life!


Shooter is an entertaining movie, but expecting too much from it would be a huge mistake. It's worth a shot, right?

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 3:49 PM 0 comments